C. 'Sweet Scentsation'

Plant profile: late-flowering clematis

Garden designer and writer, Noël Kingsbury takes a fresh look at late-flowering clematis and lists 15 favourites worth looking out for. Photographs Rachel Warne

These late-flowering species clematis are usually, but not always, climbing, sometimes sprawling over rocks, or forming bushes in deserts, or growing alongside grasses in meadows.


With their tiny flower heads and sometimes unusual colours, these late-flowering clematis have much of the appeal of hellebores and fritillaries, and show that when it comes to climbing flowers, bigger isn’t necessarily more beautiful.



Clematis tangutica


Named for the Tangut region of Tibet, this plant is found over a wide area, in many different kinds of terrain. Its yellow, lantern-shaped flowers are followed by charming, fluffy seed heads. 4.7m. RHS H7, USDA 3a-8b*.

*Hardiness ratings given where available



Clematis texensis


This species forms the basis for many new and showy hybrids, mostly noted for their vivid flowers, often in red with creamy inners. Texensis clematis are herbaceous, so need cutting back. 1.8m USDA 4a-8b.



Clematis fusca


Dark leaves and flowers, which look almost as though they’re made of felt, give this plant a subtle, somewhat sombre charm. A good clematis to let ramble through a shrub. Best in a sheltered spot with good drainage.



Clematis versicolour


This lovely North American native, one of the C. viorna group, can flower from late spring right through to late summer, early autumn. Its light habit means it is good for growing over shrubs. 2.5m. USDA 5b-9a.



Clematis ‘Sonnette’


A pretty British cultivar that is derived from the uber-cool North American C.viorna. It is extremely free-flowering but luckily doesn’t grow too large. It does, however, need hard pruning. 90cm-2m. RHS H7, USDA 5a-10a.



Clematis ‘Buckland Beauty’

Buckland Beauty

Bearing little mauve flowers that are pale yellow on the inside, this viorna clematis is small enough to grow in a container. Flowers over several months in summer. Prefers a warm spot; herbaceous, so best pruned back to base annually. 1.8-3m. RHS H7, USDA 4a-9b.



Clematis Princess Kate (=’Zoprika’)

Princess Kate

Normally, this clematis group has bell-shaped flowers, but this has white flowers with red-pink backs that flare open to about 5cm wide. Dies back to ground level in winter.
3.5m. RHS H7. USDA 6a-9b.



Clematis ‘Fukuzono’


A small, non-clinging plant with lovely fresh foliage. Its open blue-purple flowers are larger than many late bloomers, and are produced over a long season. Its name is Japanese for ‘happiness-garden’. 1.5m.



Clematis Twinkle (=’Zotwi’)

C. Twinkle (='Zotwi')

This is one of the ‘integrifolia’ group of clematis, which means that it does not climb, but behaves more like a perennial, without any need for support. Is sweetly scented. 1m. RHS H7.



Clematis tubulosa ‘Wyevale’

C. tubulosa 'Wyevale'

Another non-climbing species with no need for support. Its exquisitely scented flowers are produced in midsummer, with a few later on. Looks good with the first Japanese anemones or Tricyrtis. 1m. RHS H7, USDA 5a-9b.



Clematis rehderiana

C. rehderiana

Tiny, sweetly scented flowers are produced in large quantities in mid to late summer. Vigorous, it will eventually reach quite a height, but can be kept small with an annual hard prune. 7m. RHS H6, USDA 6a-9b.



Clematis ‘Pamela’

C. 'Pamela'

Bred in Canada, this is another non-climbing, sprawling cultivar. It is best grown through large perennials or into a shrub. Masses of scented flowers are produced throughout the summer. 2m. RHS H7.



Clematis ‘Sweet Scentsation’

C. 'Sweet Scentsation'

Producing a profusion of small, scented flowers throughout the summer, this plant grows to a medium height. It’s a new cultivar, of rather mysterious origin, that needs a hard annual prune. 2.5m. RHS H7.



Clematis ‘Kaiu’

C. 'Kaiu'

This cultivar, bred from C. viticella, was raised in the cool climes of Kaiu in Estonia, so is pretty hardy. Its small, nodding flowers open to a very pale purple but fade to a creamy white. Needs hard pruning. 2m. RHS H7.



Clematis ‘Paul Farges’

C. 'Paul_Farges'

Wide-open, scented flowers, 5cm across, on a plant that can climb to a great height, so very useful for long fence runs or sending into trees. 4-8m. RHS H7, USDA 3a-9b.